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Le Monde Signals Lifestyle Ambitions With Fashion-centric Event

PARIS — French daily newspaper Le Monde is expanding its lifestyle vertical with the launch of its first physical event inspired by its weekend magazine M and its offshoot Le Goût de M.

Le Goût de M Festival, to be held this weekend at the École Duperré fashion and applied arts school in Paris, will include talks by designers Simon Porte Jacquemus, Matthieu Blazy, Marine Serre, Julien Dossena, Rabih Kayrouz and Pierre Hardy, alongside creatives from various other fields, around the theme of sustainability.

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Marie-Pierre Lannelongue, deputy editorial director of Le Monde and M le magazine du Monde, said it will mark the first time she and her team meet readers since the weekly magazine was launched 13 years ago with a remit to cover news and lifestyle.

“With this event, we’re trying to provide a live experience of M and the idea is to grow the M brand,” she explained. “Holding the event at a school allows us to organize it like the table of contents of a magazine. There are shorter formats and longer formats, so it’s like a magazine in 3D.”

The two-day festival is named after Le Goût de M, which started life as a podcast and since 2022 has a dedicated vertical on Le Monde’s homepage. A paper supplement comes out three times a year, with four distinct covers devoted to fashion, design, food and travel.

A poster for Le Goût de M Festival.
A poster for Le Goût de M Festival.

Lannelongue, who started her career at Elle magazine, said that when M launched initially, there was a strong newsroom bias against fashion reporting, especially given Le Monde’s reputation as the newspaper of choice for France’s leftist intellectual elite.

Alongside the growth of the luxury industry, and fueled by the explosion of interest in lifestyle topics among younger and female readers, M magazine has enjoyed steady growth in print and online.

It now reaches 1.6 million readers a week, with a circulation of around 490,000 copies in the second half of 2023, according to the Alliance for Print and Media Data, or ACPM. Le Monde and the magazine have 607,000 subscribers in total.

“It works because we cover these stories with the same journalistic integrity as we cover the news. Readers are starting to see Le Monde as a credible source for lifestyle topics and a guarantee of quality. Another reason it works is because people are seeking light relief, and that is something we’ve seen very clearly since COVID-19,” she said.

“You can talk about fashion and food and travel, while still being aware of terrible world events from wars to the rise of the extreme right and climate change. It’s not always easy to run a fashion cover in that context but I feel more comfortable doing it now, because people are asking for it. Le Monde has evolved in a major way,” she added.

Elisabeth Cialdella, managing director of M Publicité at Groupe Le Monde, reported that advertising revenues at M magazine were up 18 percent in 2023 versus 2019.

“Its success rests on a foundation of loyal brands, which represent 60 percent of the portfolio, and its capacity to conquer new advertisers drawn by its exclusive readership and the originality of its editorial content,” she said.

The festival is expected to draw 2,000 visitors with activities around the theme of “second life, repairing, ennobling.” Serre will lead a workshop on upcycling, while Bottega Veneta’s Blazy will talk about merging craftsmanship and innovation. Dossena, creative director of Rabanne, will be in conversation with director and actress Géraldine Nakache.

A lucky few attendees will have their portraits taken by Brigitte Lacombe and Malick Bodian, while experts will give demonstrations on weaving, embroidery and engraving.

A cover of M le magazine du Monde.
A cover of M le magazine du Monde.

Partners for the event include Nespresso, which is launching a compostable coffee capsule; Refashion, an eco-organization accredited by French authorities to cover the textile industry’s legal obligation to manage waste sustainably; resale platform Leboncoin, and other brands including Diptyque, which recently launched its first refillable candle.

Lannelongue said the event was designed to reflect M’s editorial approach, at a time when the boundaries between lifestyle journalists and influencers are increasingly blurry. “It’s less about celebrities, and more about authenticity and objects that stand the test of time,” she said.

She noted that strong media brands are increasingly diversifying into new areas, including apparel, suggesting the festival may be the first of several initiatives in the pipeline for M.

“If you are a sizable and strong media brand nowadays, you have to develop your brand and potentially find other sources of income,” she said. “So the idea is to grow our brand and expand our scope. That’s why it’s important to have a strong editorial slant, so that speakers and audience alike really feel that it’s an M experience.”

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